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Darren O??™Donnell

Haircuts by Children
Art in General has invited artist, playwrite and theatre director, Darren O??™Donnell to develop Haircuts by Children in New York. Together, we will work with a number of children between the ages of eight and twelve and, in popular hair salons in Art in General??™s neighborhood of Chinatown and Tribeca, offering the public free haircuts by children on two Saturdays: November 3, 2007 and November 10, 2007. (Check venues and locations.)

Haircuts by Children invites a consideration of children as creative and competent individuals whose aesthetic efforts should be trusted. The project takes up the belief that it??™s important to consider that children should be permitted to participate politically. The idea that children should have access to the political process is, to many, as alien as the suggestion that children should be allowed access to our hair. There??™s no doubt that hairstyles are one of the most personal and sensitive aspects of image. Letting children cut hair, we believe, whimsically references or evokes the kind of leap of faith, courage and understanding required to grant children deeper citizenship rights.

The project invites a particular kind of participant: someone who is able to take their image less than seriously, take a chance and see what happens ??“ an openness and generosity of spirit. Haircuts by Children brings together adults and children in a situation that forcefully reverses the typical power dynamic, leaving the adults at the kids??™ mercy. Haircuts by Children will appeal to adults who are playful enough to allow themselves to explore this dynamic and children serious enough to accomplish the task without cutting off an ear.

The effects of the work will be felt in a number of dimensions. Most obviously, it occurs between the willing participants and their young stylist. It will also occur between the spectacle of haircutting itself and any viewers who may unintentionally walk past the salon and those who specifically attend the performance. But perhaps most importantly, the effects of the work will also occur through publicity in the media, print ads, flyers, posters, on e-lists and by word of mouth, the audience being as much of the ???general public??? as we can access. By this last point, we mean that the audience for the piece will also be those who merely hear about it and are forced to consider the implications. This, we consider to be as much of the performance as the actual performance itself. It is with attitude that we approach Haircuts by Children believing that ??“ because of the simple but strange nature of the piece ??“ the public??™s encounter with the idea alone will have enough force to evoke a range of reactions and provoke a range of thought without the necessity of a large audience at the actual event.

Art in General
79 Walker Street, New York, NY
T: (212) 219-0473

November 3rd, 2007
11 am - 4pm
2 in 1 Hair Salon
12-B Pell Street, New York, NY 10013
Directions: Located between Mott Street and Bowery in Chinatown. Closest subway lines are 6, N, R, Q to Canal.